2022 Ford Bronco Everglades: Rock & Roll, Best Off-Road

James Raia

Jesse Colin Young wrote the song “Ridgetop” 50 years ago. It’s a love story about nature and his home in Marin County located down a road with a steep hill and marked with granite, ruts, pine needles and chert.

To celebrate the milestone, Ford should hire the co-founder of the 1960s rock band The Youngbloods as a spokesperson or at least use his music in commercials.

The 2022 Ford Bronco Everglades trim is an off-road wonder. But it's not so great as a road daily driver.
The 2022 Ford Bronco Everglades trim is an off-road wonder. But it’s not so great as a road daily driver. Image @James Raia.

In 2022, a year after the carmaker re-introduced the Ford Bronco following a long hiatus, several special editions debuted, including the Everglades trim. It’s available only as a four-door model equipped with the standard features of the Black Diamond trim. Its singularity are front fenders with depth meter measurement lines for fording water.

Ford Bronco: SUV Icon Offered In Many Trims

The song has a reference to the Golden Gate Bridge, but not to waterways. The lyrics’ featured house was destroyed by fire in 1995. Young, 81, has lived with his second wife in Hawaii for many years.

Remoteness, tranquility and the beauty of the outdoors and its animals are the song’s repeated themes. The Bronco’s forte is its off-road versatility, including advancing across streams. It’s a vehicle to transport occupants out of cities. It’s chock-full of equipment best used for negotiating obstacles that help define the public relations phrase “Built Ford Tough.”

The Ford Bronco originally debuted in 1966. It returned in 2021 after a 25-year hiatus to the rejoicing of long-time enthusiasts. It’s a workhorse. But it’s not practical or efficient as a daily driver in cities or on freeways near the clustered communities where Young chose not to live.

After a 25-year hiatus, the Ford Bronco has been reintroduced to the delight of long-time loyalists.
After a 25-year hiatus, the Ford Bronco was reintroduced to the delight of loyalists. Image: Ford Motor Company.

Marketed as among the Bronco’s most rugged offerings, the Everglades trim also features standard: aluminum-alloy wheels, a heavy-duty modular front bumper, and the SYNC 4A twelve-inch touchscreen infotainment system. Wired and wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone integration and SiriusXM Satellite Radio with 360L (exclusive streaming channels and on-demand content) are also part of the mix.

The reviewed Ford Bronco also featured the Sasquatch package, further emphasizing the vehicle’s off-road desires. Front and rear locking differentials and 35-inch mud terrain-oriented tires dominate the exterior look.

There are also 17-inch Beadlock capable wheels, 4.7 final drive ratio, heavy-duty Bilstein position-sensitive monotube shocks and high-clearance fender flares. The High-performance Off-road Stability Suspension is known by its uber-appropriate acronym, HOSS.

Ford Bronco: Ready For A Swim

For 2022 and the 2023 model announced last fall, the Bronco Everglades model features Desert Sand Green and Eruption Green Metallic exterior paint. Its siblings are available in three additional exterior colors, including Area 51, the light-blue/gray mix. The SUV’s off-road persona is further accentuated by an air intake snorkel and a Warn winch with a 10,000-pound pulling capacity.

The Ford Bronco is offered standard with a 2.3-liter, 300-horsepower, turbocharged four-cylinder engine and a 10-speed automatic transmission. A recently introduced Raptor version has more than 400-plus horsepower, a twin-turbo V-6, a heftier suspension and available 37-inch tires. All Broncos are four-wheel drive. Gas mileage averages for the Everglades trim is 18 miles per gallon in city driving, 17 mpg on the freeway. The MSRP is just under $55,000. Acceleration is modest at best.

Frameless doors afford so much wind noise, Bronco occupants communicate only at near shouting levels. But it fits the Bronco’s rugged ways, further defined by the necessary contortionist skills or leaps of faith to enter and exit the vehicle. (Where are the side steps?)

If the doors are removed, they can be stored store in extended-wheelbase models. Marine-grand vinyl upholstery and rubberized flooring protect the cabin. Sectional hardtop section storage bags have small, designated diagrams for easier, non-jigsaw-puzzle use.

As for Young, when the Youngbloods moved their base from New York to the San Francisco Bay Area in the late 1960s, the singer’s Plymouth Barracuda couldn’t negotiate the winding roads of Marin County. According to an article on Motortrend.com when the muscle car without a suspension finally expired, Young purchased a new 1968 Datsun pickup truck with a 1,300 cc engine. He paid $2,000 in cash.

Article Last Updated: April 18, 2023.

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